When The X-Files is abducted from prime time for good May 19, all the mysteries will be solved. The finale ”takes you through the entire story of the past nine years in an incredibly straightforward way,” says exec producer Frank Spotnitz. ”We really do say ‘This is what happened and this is what it means.”’ That’s certainly one way to get lapsed X-Philes to tune in. But even the most religious followers will have some difficulty making sense of the numerous converging plotlines. So in the spirit of the always-resourceful Lone Gunmen, here are a few ways you (with the help of a computer and VCR) can see through the black oil.
REOPEN AN OLD CASE Log on to the official site’s episode guide (thexfiles.com) and poke around the shows titled ”Two Fathers” and ”One Son.” This two-parter from season 6, says Spotnitz, marked ”the destruction of the old conspiracy.” The new conspiracy begins in the middle of the seventh season with the episodes ”Sein Und Zeit” and ”Closure,” which represent a turning point in Fox Mulder’s search for his sister, Samantha.
RENT THE 1998 MOVIE Pay attention: Looking back, it seems the film answers more questions than most fans realize. For an overview, including descriptions of scripted scenes never filmed, consult the X-Files Undergound website (come.to/x-filesmovie).
MEET THE ALIENS Can you tell the difference between gray aliens, bounty hunters, and so-called supersoldiers? Not even the experts can. ”And nobody’s sure how they all fit together,” admits Spotnitz. But there’s a tool in the X-Philes section of the official website called The Brain that will help sort them out (sorry, for PC users only).
CHECK IN WITH OLD FRIENDS Plenty of characters from the past — Alex Krycek, the Lone Gunmen, even the ghost of Cigarette-Smoking Man — appear in the finale. To track someone’s role through the series, load the official site’s Mytharc. This charts a particular character’s progress episode by episode along the show’s time line.
DO OUTSIDE RESEARCH But go beyond the Roswell and Majestic conspiracy theories, and read up on recent ideas about the extraterrestrial origins of life. ”That’s central to The X-Files’ mythology,” says Spotnitz.
Don’t let these suggestions put you off. The finale will make sense even to those who haven’t followed the show for a while (which, if the ratings are any indication, includes most of you). One last recommendation: Pay close attention to the story line surrounding Mulder and Dana Scully’s child, William. Because another X-Files feature film is still in the works — -and given the twists and turns of the soon-to-be-concluded show — who knows what he might become?